We’ve all been caught day-dreaming at the coffee machine about being our own boss. Working our own hours, being in charge of our own time, and making money for our own wallets.
Surprisingly, only about 7% of people ever take the plunge and start their own business, probably being too daunted by the amount of money and work that goes into being an entrepreneur. In fact, it’s easy to become discouraged before you even start.
However, the good news is that you don’t have to be a big shot retailer to start a business. All you need is a business name, a logo, products and an e-commerce website that can receive payments and take orders.
This doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg and there are a few options available to South African Startups who want to seize the day without going into debt.
Products Hack Tip 1: Alibaba
First: Decide what you want to sell. This might be yourself, services or a product. You need to be able to source products that will be in high demand by your target market. This could mean importing cool gadgets and accessories, or inventing clever products to make life or work easier.
A great way to find out what is hot internationally is to search through Amazon and eBay and then try to source those products at cheaper prices to import.
Alibaba is an awesome website that offers pretty much anything you could imagine up for sale, both in smaller amounts and in bulk at wholesale prices.
A great idea would be to find some products you think will do well and then have a mini focus group by posting them to your Facebook page, or group and get some feedback from your target market.
Logo Hack Tip: Square space
Every credible business needs a logo. It adds personality and credibility to your venture, and if done well, will go a long way to helping you launch your business.
Before you spend hours trying to design your own logo using MS Paintbrush, or spending R5000.00 hiring a graphic designer, check out Square Space. This is an amazing website that allows you to create professional looking logos free of charge.
It’s very user-friendly and easy to use and within minutes of opening your browser you could have an eye-catching and trendy logo. It also allows you to see what your logo would look like on your business card and promotional items like mugs, caps and shirts.
Website Hack Tip: Cloudly Stores
Once you have products to sell, you need a retail platform. Cloudly is a free online mall developed with small businesses in mind; giving you the opportunity to create an online presence with no start-up costs.
You can create your store with personalised branding, payment and shipping methods. Cloudly only charges 5% of all completed transactions thus you only pay when you sell.
Cloudly is great because store owners are in control of their own store, just like they would be in a real mall.
You load your own stock, manage your inventory, decide how you will get paid and how much to sell your products for.
Cloudly also has some other great features that aim to help entrepreneurs streamline their processes and save time on admin. It’s an all-in-one office manager and store assistant.
Once you are established and have the lay of the land, you can formalise your business by registering a company or PTY LTD and opening a business bank account and getting office space, expensive software, telephone lines and all of the other structural things businesses usually start off with.
These things actually aren’t a necessity and often slow progress down and prevent Start-Ups from entering the market with a bang. Don’t sweat the small stuff, get your business going and then iron out the finer details. Carpe Diem!